Sleep apnea, and more commonly obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), is a growing overall health and oral health concern that can put a patient’s life at risk if left untreated. Dr. Trushar Patel works with patients who have been diagnosed with sleep apnea or are at risk for developing a sleep-related disorder in Westborough, MA.
Sleep apnea can affect patients of all ages and demographics for a wide range of reasons, but there are some key risk factors that it is important to be aware of and discuss with us during a dental office visit. Males over 40, diabetics, smokers, those with sinus issues, or patients who are overweight or obese are more likely to develop OSA.
Do I Have Sleep Apnea?
If you are considered at risk or suffer from any of the following common symptoms of sleep apnea or OSA, schedule an appointment with Dr. Patel. He can work with you to determine if a sleep study should be coordinated with your physician and alert you to any oral signs of the condition.
- Snoring, gasping for air while sleeping
- Feeling groggy or excessively tired, even after a “full night” of rest
- Irritability, difficulty concentrating
- Dry mouth, sore throat upon waking
Snoring, especially loud and sudden snoring, is a key indicator of a sleep disorder. While not everyone who snores has sleep apnea, of you or a loved one snore it is important to seek advice and diagnosis to avoid the development of the health risks associated with sleep apnea. These can include an increased risk for cardiovascular disease, systemic disease, sudden stroke, and heart attack.
Sleep Apnea Treatment: What to Expect
Dr. Patel offers an alternative treatment option for patients who have mild to moderate sleep apnea. Patients that use the CPAP machine and are clear to use an oral appliance may benefit as well. Oral appliance therapy is more discreet, comfortable, and convenient to use than the CPAP, and compliance rates among patients are much higher, a key component of improving overall health.
We will fit you for a custom oral appliance that will feel and appear much like a sports mouthguard, making it possible to speak and drink fluids with the appliance in place. There is no machinery and no special cleaning is necessary. A custom-made oral appliance for sleep apnea is designed to reposition the jaw and prevent the soft tissues at the back of the throat from collapsing into the airway. This allows for normal breathing, minimizes or stops snoring, and helps you enjoy a much better night’s sleep.
Sleep Apnea FAQs
Learn more about sleep apnea with these frequently asked questions:
How long will my oral sleep device last?
Oral sleep appliances are not meant to last forever. You should expect to replace it every one to two years. This is because the materials will begin to weaken and will lose their efficiency. Choosing to use an oral sleep device as a sleep apnea treatment means you will need to be committed to replacing it regularly.
Can my dentist diagnose sleep apnea?
No, a dentist cannot diagnose sleep apnea. You must undergo a sleep study performed through a sleep center to obtain the diagnosis. However, a dentist can help you screen for it and provide treatment. Most dentists can pick up on some of the signs of sleep apnea and refer you to your primary care physician for further testing.
Are oral appliances comfortable to wear?
Most patients report that an oral sleep appliance is more comfortable to wear than a CPAP machine. They are custom made to fit comfortably in your mouth and most types are very lightweight. There is no air blowing in your face nor is there a mask that must remain strapped to your face while you sleep.
Receive Sleep Apnea Treatment Today
Request a dental consultation with Dr. Patel on our website. If you are a new patient, call (508) 342-1519. Current patients can call (508) 366-0550.